Discern Experience in Los Angeles

By Arthur Penate, Los Angeles Discern Alumnus (2012-2015)

My experience as a Discerner was life changing. I met many different people that had amazing stories to share with me about their lives and what had led up to the moment where we’re standing in front of each other. I was surprised to see how many people I was able to relate to and met many that shared very similar interests. I gained a lot of knowledge from those who visited but learned so much from those who shared the summers with me as well.

Being part of this DOOR program with a bunch of my friends made it very comfortable for me to open up. I could honestly say I wouldn’t be the person I am today without having met guys like Marvin and Mathew (former Los Angeles City Directors), who came to the neighborhood with a purpose: to genuinely make an impact and bring together strangers, who otherwise probably wouldn’t have shared a conversation, to build a better place. I think they did just that.

They also helped us, the teens, by breaking through to us, showing us how to write resumes, speak in front of huge crowds, and many more skills that you usually have to pay for in this city. They definitely made a tremendous impact in my life as well as the entire program and without leaders like them the experience wouldn’t be the same.

Even through the tough experiences we all shared, because we all hit some challenging obstacles together, there was always a lesson behind it. To take a challenge as anything less
than a learning opportunity is unacceptable.

That’s what Discern has taught me.